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>> hello and welcome to "autoline," coming to you from the floor of the auto show in washington d.c. we are going to be talking about all of the issues affecting the auto industry that emanate from this town. for example, you probably heard president obama's union address in which he established the desire to have a million
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electric vehicles on the road. is that the job of the government? with us today is daniel weiss. ron cogan is the publisher of green car journal, and fred smith is with the competitive enterprise institute. we had the three of the them lat year. it turned into a rip roaring discussion. don't go away. we'll get started in just a moment. >> from the floor of the washington d.c. auto show, this is "autoline." here's your host john mcelroy. >> welcome back to our discussion from the floor of the d.c. auto show. with us is daniel weiss, ron cogan and fred smith. great having you all here again.
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we all did this a year ago. it's great to have you back. dan let me start with you. recently president obama said he needs a million electric cars on the road in about four year's time. what do you make of that? is that a realistic goal for the country? having a million cars on the road in four years time is a realistic but ambitious goal. the chevy volt is being sold this year. the demand is so high general motor's will quadruple the number they make. >> they say they are going to. is it a realistic goal? >> i think if incentives stay in place and people get the vehicle, and people should because the volt is a great
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vehicle, it depends on how things unfold. >> fred? >> they can do anything if they are willing to subsidize it. you can make water run uphill. the question is whether it's sensible to take money from an embattled economy and put it into the car of the tomorrow instead of the car of today. >> this is about american competitive with other countries and american innovation. china announced they'll invest $15 billion in clean energy cars of the future. we are going to those cars one way or the other because we have to reduce our national foreign oil use. president obama is helping us get the industry off the ground. the first iphone with far fewer
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functions cost a lot more than the ones today. the cost of the volt will go down as the number of orders go up. >> it's silly to rush out and be the person that adopts a product before its ready. they spend a lot of money, do a lot of work and is overcome by the second adopter. wasting money on a product which may or may not be the product the consumer want, is a great way to bankruptcy. government does not pick innovations well, and the president is no brighter than any other politician. >> why is there is assumption that it has to be electric cars. i think it's dangerous for the
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government to pick the winner. the market picks the winner. it's not that i'm against electrification, i'm an advocate for electric cars, but also i'm an advocate of economic and fiscal responsibility. you can subsidize vehicles so long and then they need to stand on their own. how long will this take? is the electric car going to do well in states with snow which washington has had recently that has pretty much stopped the city. take a step to the future that the president envisions. i don't know why there is a singular focus on elect occasion. >> you are right and because of the investments we have made over the last couple of years, the united states will play a
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leadership role in plugging in hybrids. we think the cost of the battery will be cut in half within a few years, and the united states -- you want everything to happen immediately? >> during the bush administration we were always concerned about faith based initiatives. dan is following green, faith based initiatives. >> i am waiting for the break through announced in the early '90s. it has not come. the cost is extraordinairely high. >> what is the cost for the battery back in the leaf? >> they are not going to tell us the exact cost. >> i am reading that it's somewhere in the $15,000 range. >> the say
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the tesla has been said to be $30,000. >> unless we make investments to develop the technologies, we'll be stuck at a high priced small scale. >> whaone of the barriers is the electrical grid for america. with no incentives to invest in link ages, we have the problem with subsidy problems. most of us have problems picking winners. a lot of things we are doing has been difficult in the market and whatever the political fad of the moment is. mixed fuel vehicles one year. hybrids the next year. >> we need to know that policy is going the way you like. we are going to have a whole
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range of things out there. we'll have incentives for charging infrastructures. we'll have stricter fuel economy standards so someone who doesn't want to plug in an all electrical vehicle, they with cy a minivan. >> about the fact that we need investment, i agree. we need investments, we need insenincentives. my issue is with the assumption that the battery break through will be here in the short term to make these cars affordable like we hope they'll be. >> in past technologies like computers and telecommunication show a pattern in deployment and
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commercialization. >> the difference between you and i, you think we have to somehow have to lead from the top down. my view is to get the impediments out of the way. not pay to build wires. make it profitable to do it. battery technology -- we have closed all of our mines down. we made it easy for china to take the lead. natural gas -- we are making it almost impossible to build natural gas in america. in every area, it's the impediments to the future i want to remove first. after that, you can subsidize, but why start with nutrality? >> we have more natural gas at
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home than five years ago. the facilities are being used for storing natural gas produced here. >> natural gas is a developing success story for mid ranged vehicles, large heavy duty vehicles. companies with clean energy are working with fuel contracts. incentivising that is important. you can't or shouldn't put all of your eggs in one basket. electric cars, i think there is a big future for. we have other technologies and fuels that work well. i have driven 25,000-miles in light city ones. they are going to sell them in all 50 states. i hope they increase their numbers. >> they are very expensive. >> and the advantage of
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electricity for passenger vehicles is that you have a refueling station at your out with an outlet. >> we support incentives to converge truck trucks for natur. if it works it would save a million barrels a day. the problem with the combustion engine, the oil comes from overseas. 2/3 of our oil comes from overseas. we have 2% of the world's oil. we are never going to be able to produce the majority of our own oil even if we drill in fred's backyard. developing alternatives and advanced biofuels are important in what ron said. >> when it comes to electricity, no road taxes.
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then we are not paying our fair share to the roads. how do we do this? some sort of licensing fee or something has to be added. >> that will come. it's like electrification, there has to be advanced cycling for them. it will come. >> the gasoline tax now isn't adequate to pay for highways. >> in one area both lanes were free to hybrid vehicles. now we have high access to toll roads. >> the whole idea is that i would love to see a world in which we remove the impediments to natural gas. dan mentioned that the need for
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natural gas is critical. i have never seen any environmental group inclined to open up our natural gas development. they are now blocking the pipeline coming from canada to the american heartland. the first thing to do is move the stones out of the way, let the grass grow. then subsidize it. >> i think the first thing that has to happen is we need a national energy policy. how do technologies increase with confidence when the game keeps changing. there is no road map and without the road map you can't have the investment to get there. >> president obama provided part of the road map during state of
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the union. you must not check our website often because we have written on numerous occasions the need for expansion of natural gas. since you don't read, you should listen. >> we believe it can be done safely, but let's have the companies that do it, some of which are responsible for the b.p. oil disaster require them to tell us what chemicals they are using. >> this is what my grandmother used to say. you can go swimming as long as you don't go near the water. >> the environmentalists want to slow us down to the past. non-affordable energy and none available energy and this has blocked energy more man thinking else in america.
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>> what would you like to see? >> i would like to see a policy with an objective look, doesn't pick a winner and incentivises the most promising. to ignore natural gas is a travesty. we have vehicles that can run on natural gas. >> it takes three years to bring a new car to market. >> it's important to know that the obama administration and senator reed and others in congress supported the gas act and the electrical vehicle's act. one for busses. one for cars. who blocked it? mitch mcconnell and senate republicans. we have a 60 vote impediment in the u.s. senate that keeps us from doing things.
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>> looking for stability and certainty in the political world is like looking for love in all the wrong places. jen stewart did an article on national energy independence. obama is saying great things. bush said them. clinton said them. every year politics changes. that's what politics is about. trying to create stability in the boiling caldron of politics is foolish. we need to realize that the market is better at regulating things and deregulate and remember that the policy of america is letting consumers decide. >> the difference between obama and bush is that obama has done things. >> bush said all of that stuff. there were fuel cells under the
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bush administration. >> we have stricter fuel economy standards saving 2 billion-barrels of oil. a fifth of that will come from countries that are dangerous. >> republicans have been abysmal on this issue as democrats are. politicians are not who should design the future of the world. >> if we want to make a difference in the short term, electrification speaks to the latter, what do we do? why are we not offsetting petroleum as the vehicles come to market. they drive better than other vehicles. >> at a cost less than hybrid vehicles. >> why washington ignores this is beyond me.
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>> the policies under work. >> what i'm pushing is logic. >> you can also use synthetic fuels. we talked about the green car summit. >> right before the show we were talking to someone from the clean diesel fuel association. he said the standards kicking in next year and another round 2017 will help create more of a demand for clean diesel as well as plug in hybrid vehicles, natural gas trucks and other ideas. president obama is using politics to set the stage for the market of the type of things you have been talking about. >> what about the regulations we have now where we say, we want lower emission standards. when you tighten up the screws, so to speak to get lower emissions, it can hurt fuel economy. >> on top of that, we have to
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add more structure to the car, makes them heavier and causes more fuel to be burned. >> standards have been signed off on until 2016. right now the chinese fuel standard is 35-miles per gallon. by the time we get there, they'll have 42 miles per hour. >> the japanese were god like figures beyond that. the idea that brilliance is abroad and americans are dumb people -- china has it has been able to do because they are perfectly willing to sell americans windmills, but they are putting their future in coal power. the whole idea that over there the grass is greener -- the
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grass is very green in america. if we deregulate it would incentivise. get out of the way and let detroit do what it once did, build cars that people want to buy that are durable, afordable and safe. >> the u.s. market is not the chinese market. we love our cars. >> i think the chinese love their cars. >> they don't have the history of driving passion that other markets have that have been in this a long time. >> the automobile world is freedom. >> let the auto companies design the cars. we wouldn't have seat belts or air bags. we would be driving at 15-miles per gallon with lead. >> dan raises a good point. it was regulations that brought
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in mandatory seatbelts. >> the problem in the market -- every innovation comes in as high price, low quality and the testing period better done in a market political second guessing, those become high quality products for the rest of us. >> i'm kind of in the middle because i think there is a middle ground. you try to seem to be in the middle, but we agree allot. >> government has a place to incentivise and regulate. in the absence, we wouldn't have safety that we have. we need a free market to sell cars that people want. detroit and the auto industry in
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general has responded well. >> we wouldn't have low emissions, but one of the reasons we don't have clean diesel readily available in the united states is because our nitric oxygen rate, has choked off diesel. >> here's a good reason, john. nitric oxide produces urban smog which kills people. $120 billion a year is spent on oil. >> if we adopted the european standards, a strict standard drn standard -- >> we have a different economy than they do. >> why would you go back to that? >> if we adopted the european standard, people would not drop
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over because the air is more polluted. you get an instant reduction in co2 emissions going with diesel, and a substantially better fuel economy. >> you need to drive innovation not weaken the standard of what is here. >> we both talk about what presidents haven't done. president obama said we need to rethink the regulatory part. things like failure to recognize that the europeans are reltier, longer life spans than americans and address their pollution standards. rethinking the regulatory standards. instead, created by republicans and financed by many people, we have to rethink them.
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keep the regulations that make sense, but don't keep them there because they have historical precedence and fred likes them. >> i'm sorry if the air is too clean for you. >> who would have thought diesel could be as clean as it is now? i don't know that there should be an absence of regulation or that it should be scaled back. there should be analysis of the number of vehicles. >> when i say scale back, i'm saying, let's adopt what europe has. >> they have far fewer cars than weco. we do. >> and they drive less than we do, but they are in a tighter geography. americans are the most dispersed
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areas. >> we should also invest in high-speed rail to reduce the amount of oil we use. one out of every five barrels of oil comes from a country called dangerous or unstable. that's something the auto companies don't care about. >> he's worried about canadians invading america. that was south park meant to be funny not serious. we have lots of sources of energy abroad and lots at home. if we are worried about america's future, the way to do it is not to build barriers and second guess what technologies work and not to overregulate an overregulated industry. it's best done by market keeping and not politics.
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>> thanks so much for coming back to argue this out. we'll have you on next year too. >> i sure hope you enjoyed today's show. man did those three guys make my job easy. all i had to do was ask the first question and they took over. what is the proper role of government? what will work for the nation and where do we go from here? we at "autoline" don't have the answers, but we'll bring on the people that are working on these solutions. that brings us to the end of is show. for all of us here at "autoline," thanks for watching. we'll see you next
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Satellite News From Taiwan
PBS February 19, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm PST


TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 8, America 7, Obama 3, Washington 3, United States 3, Daniel Weiss 2, Ron Cogan 2, Detroit 2, Fred Smith 2, U.s. 2, Mitch Mcconnell 1, Reed 1, John Mcelroy 1, John 1, Jen Stewart 1, Tesla 1, Autoline 1, Europe 1, China 1, Washington D.c. 1
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